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The best kept secret in music


"esQuire Goes Retro With Intelligent Rap"

Who He Is: esQuire doesn't have a lot in common with Detroit's most famed white rappers. More silly than surly, he won't draw many comparisons to Eminem. He doesn't wear makeup like Insane Clown Posse, nor does he share the duo's love for cartoonish violence.

But like those two acts, he does have a flair for the theatrical. His stage show is a one-of-a-kind, have-to-see-it-to-believe-it event, complete with two DJs, go-go dancers and dance routines a la Ann-Margret. Think Austin Powers rapping and you've about got it.

One of his tracks, "The Boy Who Invented Rap," is sort of his calling card, and the name hints at what's in store for those who check out his performances. His songs and his stage show are both a bit goofy, but his rising popularity in Detroit -- and the fact he keeps getting asked back -- are evidence that esQuire means serious business.

Real Name: Kevin Herron

Home:Detroit-born, but now lives in Huntington Woods.

Age: 26

The Name: "I was trying to come up with a rap name, and I wanted something grandiose and funny. Esquire was something gentlemen of distinction would often add to the end of their name. I just like the way it sounded and threw some weird capitalization in there," he says, referring to his preferred spelling: esQuire.

Partner in Rhyme: Craig Le RoQ is his producer, cowriter and DJ.

esQuire Schoolin': esQuire started rapping a couple years ago and made a demo in 2000. "The Boy Who Invented Rap" was released in Detroit in limited quantities, but he was picked up by the Japanese record label Escalator Records. Even though he started performing live only a year ago, esQuire is looking to make rapping a full-time gig.

The Sound: His lyrics are witty and the beats reminisicent of De La Soul, although esQuire says he doesn't make that comparison himself. Perhaps Deee-lite meets Biz Markie would be more accurate. "It's sort of all over the place. To look at me and know me, you wouldn't think I would know how to rap. Craig is into old-school rap, and I bring some of the 60's sound to the mix. Our goal is that you have to be able to dance to it and you have to have lyrics that are clever and you have to be entertaining all at the same time." Willy Wilson, who host the "Willy Wilson Show" on WDET-FM (101.9) says esQuire appeals to fans all over the musical spectrum. "I know people who hate everything hip-hop and rap, but they love him," Wilson says. "He has both rap fans and the downtown hipster crowd come down to see him."

The Show: As he constantly emphasizes, being entertaining is esQuire's main goal. "It just can't be something to listen to, it has to wow you on several levels," he says.

"It's a weird act, but it's great," says Wilson, who's also the Magic Bag's head of publicity. "He's such a fun performer, you can't help but have a good time."

What's Next: Immediate plans include a single to be released in through Rex Records this summer in England. esQuire says things after that are not concrete but he hopes to write more songs and record a full-length album.

He says a lot of labels are talking to him, but he remains unsigned stateside. "I have good feelings about things," esQuire says. "You have to trust intuition and I have good vibes."

Upcoming Shows: 9 p.m. Saturday with Thomas Potter opening for Electric Six (formerly the Wildbunch) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. 21 years and older. 248-544-3030. This is the first solo show for Potter, who is also in the Dirtbombs and Bantam Rooster.
- The Detroit Free Press

"Band of the Week: esQuire--Stylish rapper rocks rhymes"

Kevin Herron was born and bred in Detroit. While attending school at the University of Michigan, he discovered he had a knack for free-style rapping. Soon after, his hip-hop persona, esQuire, was born.

Herron was further inspired to live a life of rhyme after hearing female rapper, Princess Superstar. esQuire was granted the opportunity to get up on stage and rap with her, and she liked what she heard.

"She was raving over it, so from that day on I decided I need to pursue it," he says.

Since his August debut performance at the Magic Stick, esQuire has made a big impact on the local rock scene despite the fact that his music is mostly hip-hop, his live act, which includes plently of glitz and a gang of go-go dancers, has been received well within the local rock scene.

"Everyone has been really receptive," esQuire says. "Hard-rock people like it, garage rock people like it; even some of the rap people like it. I was curious to see how they would react to it because it is so nontraditional."

Name: esQuire

Line Up: esQuire, vocals and dancing; Craig Le RoQ, producer and turntables; DJ Dviant, turntables; Amy, Erika, Jessica and Si, go-go dancing. "Queen Bee" Karen Neal also makes a special appearance at most performances.

Sound: Forget rapping about money, women and guns. esQuire is all about having fun with rhymes and incorporating humour with fresh beats. His songs are chock full of appropriate samples and nods to the Motor City. "It's seriously good music, but you don't have to take it seriously," esQuire says. "I'm not trying to enlighten people, just make good music."

Releases: In June, esQuire will release Brandy and Xanax, a 12-inch vinyl EP, on Japan's Escalator Records.

Next: esQuire and his entourage will perform tonight at the Buddha Lounge, located at 21633 8 Mile in Detroit. Los Fancy Free and DJ Lemmy Caution will also perform. Doors open at 9 p.m. Call (313) 535-4664. - The Detroit News


The Boy Who Invented Rap 7" vinyl single -- Escalator Records, Japan -- 2000

Let's Get Right Down to the Real Nitty Gritty 5" vinyl split single w/ Losfeld -- Escalator Records, Japan -- 2001

Brandy and Xanax 12' vinyl EP -- Escalator Records, Japan -- 2002

Viva Detroit! CD --self released promo -- 2002

Brandy and Xanax 10" vinyl EP -- Rex Records, UK -- 2003

Brandy and Xanax CD EP -- self-released -- 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


He's been called "the boy who invented rap." He's been called Detroit's fastest rising star. He's also been called lazy and unenthusiastic and is said to lack initiative. But that was by some square boss at a dullsville day job, so that hardly counts. "I'm too good for this," our hero retorted to that slight. Ladies and gentleman, allow me to present the man in question -- the one, the only, esQuire!

Coming straight outta metropolitan Detroit, the story begins a couple of years ago at a ballroom dance class at a local high school. At this point, esQuire, commonly called Q, had been rhyming sans beats for some time now. One night during the polka lesson, Q met Craig Le RoQ, super producer, and the world hasn't been the same since. Both sharing a love for the sublime and the obscure, Q and Le RoQ began building songs together with a foundation of old-school style, Stax samples, San Antonio sixties rock, bombshell beats, and wall o' sound production. To put it grandiloquently, musical history was begun and a star was born.

Fame first knocked in 2001 with the release of esQuire's first single, "The Boy Who Invented Rap" b/w "Maximum Utmost." Released on Tokyo's Punka Music, a subsidiary of Escalator Records, which hosts several sparkling pop outfits including Yukari Fresh, Losfeld, and Le Hammond Inferno, the 7" quickly sold right out of the box. A guest rap on the Losfeld-produced track "Let's Get Right Down to the Real Nitty Gritty" quickly ensued and was released as a split Christmas 2001 single with Yukari Fresh and Cubismo Graphico holding up the flip side. "The Boy Who Invented Rap" was subsequently re-released on "Punka Compilation 1" on Punka Music in December 2001 and on "Spinout 3," a mix album on V2 Records by the renowned and fabulously named Mansfield in 2002. In June 2002, the 4 song 12" EP "Brandy and Xanax" was put out by Escalator Records. Moving across the other ocean, esQuire celebrated the release of a single on England's Rex Records, a subsidiary of XL Recordings, in Februrary 2003. The accompanying music video made its debut on MTV2 in Britain. A follow-up single is soon to be released.

Back at home, the Motor City is no stranger to true entertainment, which is why esQuire's live show is already legendary in his hometown. Beginning with a bang opening for Canadian sex goddess Peaches in August 2001, Q quickly became one of Detroit's most sought after performers, because, quite simply, his show is the most! Featuring super producer Craig Le RoQ and DJ Dviant manning the decks, wild go-go dancers, the latest in hair and fashion, and of course, Q's switched-on vocalizations, this revue is fantastic fantastic. It couldn't get any better if Beck teamed up with Ann-Margret and Joey Heatherton on a Shindig television special.

Man oh man. The heat is on and the lid is off -- watch out now! I have seen the future and it is Q-shaped.